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Annie

Montignac sur Charente, France
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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-09-18

Predictable and far too long

With a bit of judicious editing this book could have been at least three hours shorter and might then have been worth sticking with. The review I read predicted a whopper of an ending, but I'd worked out who the missing child was about halfway into the story. Far too much detail on domestic life (putting on the kettle, etc.) and work life too and the characters were not developed enough for me. A mother dies in a tragic accident and neither her daughter or husband seemed to show too much emotion and the daughter's best friend's solution to any of her friend's problems seemed to be to open another bottle of wine and box of chocolates!. The parts written for the parents and read by the male narrator and the older female one were much more interesting to listen to but the main narrator, although she had to be a younger voice for the younger characters, was far too immature and didn't make enough effort to change accents between the characters of Laura and Dani. Altogether a disappointing listen and I won't be listening to anything else written by this author or read by this narrator.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-08-18

Tedious family story

I stuck with this book because I was hoping for, perhaps, a twist or and exciting ending, but sadly no. It was probably about three hours too long and the author had a very annoying habit in the beginning of mentioning a character's name, but not explaining until much later who that character was. The reader made a fair job of the Devonshire accent for Jules, but the other voices were far too similar to make the story interesting to listen to and I'd have preferred some indication that the story was switiching from the present into the past. The main characters were far too good to be true, as was the incredibly precocious Daisy - I've never known an almost three-year-old who could handle a camera! The trial scenes could have been much more exciting and it was a great disappointment that the mysterious death of Amelia's mother wasn't investigated at all. Glad the book's over, and won't be trying any more by Susan Lewis.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-08-18

Interesting police drama

I enjoyed the premise of this novel but I can never understand why writers have to use stereotypes when creating the characters of children - Maisie, in this book, is one of the most annoying twelve year olds I have ever read about - every cliche used - precocious, bad tempered, rude, and I was almost wishing she'd be a victim of the serial killer or 'doer' as described. I normally enjoy Anna Bentinck's readings but she used a really irritating voice for the child. Kate was quite a sympathetic character but seemed unable to deal with her revolting child - no challenge over the discovery of little blue pills in the child's bedroom was just preposterous. The investigation, however, was really interesting and the way the author dealt with the emotions of the bereaved families was very well written.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-08-18

Yet another excellent Dave Gurney story

I have listened to several Dave Gurney books and have enjoyed them all, but I think this is one of the best. Apart from the details of (sometimes) gruesome murders that need solving, I also enjoy the domestic details of Dave and Madeleine's lives and the rapport between them is well described, as is the scenery around their home. Usually, the books are read by the excellent Jeff Harding, but Christopher Lane did as good a job. Can't wait for the next one !

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-07-18

A brief history of very unsympathetic characters

First, the narrator: Dead-pan style and some of the accents very dodgy.
Second: the characters: one-dimentional, especially the main character (uncaring mother to a daughter and obsessed mother to her son), her son (foul-mouthed wining layabout) and the detective - one parent widower struggling with fancying the lawyer - difficult to have any sympathy for them.
Third: the story - hate books where the author has to give the main character something interesting to do (in this case wearing black leather and riding a motor-bike) just to make them seem a bit more interesting.

I have stuck with this story because I don't like abandoning books halfway through but won't listen to any more by this author or any other authors narrated by Susan Edmonds

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-04-18

Far too long

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The book is far too long and there are far too many characters with stories that have no relevance to the crime and the solving of it.

Would you recommend The Girl in the Woods to your friends? Why or why not?

No. As already said: far too many characters with side stories and I really failed to see the relevance of the witch trial in the seventeenth century.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes. Both rather slow

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed Camilla Lackberg's books before but prefer when she concentrates on the solving of the crime.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-03-18

A horrid story of a disfunctional family

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

No idea - can't imagine anyone will want to read about a self-obsessed mother and her nasty child and weird neighbour

What could Clare Boyd have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Perhaps given some of the characters different accents

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jane McDowell?

Possibly, if the plot was a more believable and interesting one

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment and despair that I have stuck with this silly story

Any additional comments?

Nowhere in this story did either parent think they should be seeking help for their difficult child and the way they were bringing her up. Novels , like the BBC, are there to entertain and inform, and this book did neither. Don't know if I can be bothered to soldier on to the end, now six hours in.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-03-18

A wonderful gripping read

Would you listen to This Rough Ocean again? Why?

Yes. The historic detail of the period portrayed is educational and the minutiae of domestic life in the seventeenth century is fascinating

What did you like best about this story?

The contrast between the lives of Ann and John

What does Philip Battley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His various different accents were spot on

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end, without giving anything away

Any additional comments?

A wonderful book, for anyone who is a fan of Norah Lofts, this book is a must. Can't wait to try some of her other novels.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-02-18

Wonderful!

Would you listen to The Horse Dancer again? Why?

Yes. The story of the relationship between the child, her horse, her grandfather and the stable owner is a gripping well-written one.

What other book might you compare The Horse Dancer to, and why?

Perhaps to 'The Shell Seekers' by Rosamund Pilcher or To Kill a Mockinbird, both books where the characters grip your interest from the start.

What about Julia Franklin’s performance did you like?

She read the book with a lot of emotion and made a very good job of both male and female characters.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The scene when Sarah fled from the French teenagers and was eventually reunited with her horse.

Any additional comments?

This is one of the best books I have ever listened too and I am so glad that my lack of knowledge of or interest in horses did not put me off buying it. I would recommend it wholeheartedly; it was wonderful.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-02-18

Not a likeable character in this book

I wish I had read the other reviews before listening to this book. A group of disfunctional characters, none of them particularly likeable. Far too much detail of teenage sex and the lives of self-centred characters are so boring that I shall be returning this book, having only listened to half of it.

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